Rogue Rodents 9: Donphan

It’s been a while, but Rogue Rodents is back for 2019!

Our first feature of the year looks to Penang’s Pichubros League Challenge back in December last year, where Wiiji Lim managed to sneak into Top 8 with an interesting Donphan deck. 

Objective: Defence is the best offence

Wiiji built the deck to counter the many OHKO decks in the current meta – Blacephelon-GX, Necrozma-GX, Gardevoir-GX and Rayquaza-GX to name a few. The idea is to constantly stream Donphan (Lost Thunder), whose Ability prevents it from being OHKO. 

Plus, Donphan takes advantage of the rising number of Zoroark-GX variants in recent tournaments. 

How to Play

The perfect turn one would be multiple Phanpy on the field, with one Fighting Energy set on one of them. On the second turn, evolve that Phanpy into Donphan and set a Double Colorless Energy to start the ball rolling – it’s Rolling Spin attack does 70 damage, and 70 more if Rolling Spin was used last turn.

Don’t forget to get out Diancie Prism Star as soon as Donphan is ready to attack. With Diancie, Donphan is able to 2HKO almost all Pokemon-GX.

Last Chance Potion is a great addition as it completely heals Donphan after it survives a OHKO. 

EXP share is included to pass around Fighting Energy on a Donphan that’s been KO. This is key as Donphan requires two turns to fully set up otherwise. 

To cycle through the deck, Wiiji chose to use a combination of Oranguru (Sun & Moon) and Zebstrika (Lost Thunder) for draw power. 

A Buzzwole (Forbidden Light) is ready to use Sledgehammer when the opponent has four Prize cards remaining. 

Weakness

Wiiji notes that his deck has plenty of weaknesses. He notes that decks that bench wipe, hit and run (Greninja-GX), discard Energy, as well as decks that focus on inflicting Special Conditions and reducing damage (Scizor-GX) would easily defeat Donphan.

With regards to Bench damage, which negates Donphan’s Ability, the deck includes Machoke (Guardians Rising) and the Sky Pillar Stadium. These are techs to defend against trickling Bench damage from cards like Buzzwole-GX (Burning Shadows), Tapu Koko (Promo) and Volcanion Prism Star. 

Wiiji also notes that attaching Energy can be a problem, so EXP Share is critical to keep a steady stream of Donphan attacking. 

Matches

Against decks that target the Bench (like Decidueye-GX, Alolan Ninetales-GX and Buzzole-GX), Wiiji chooses not to play Phanpy onto the Bench until Sky Pillar or Machoke has been setup. In general, this deck plays to its core strength – continuous Rolling Spin, heal with Last Chance Potion where possible, and prepare the second Donphan. 

Future Changes

Even though Tag Team looming around the corner, Wiiji is considering which cards can best improve the deck. Until then, we will definitely update this feature should Donphan make a second surprise appearance in the future. 

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